To add insult to injury, a section of Interstate 20 has buckled, closing
the roadway and further reducing the travel options for the region's
commuters after the closure of Interstate 85 a few weeks ago. This further
travel disruption to Atlanta's metropolitan area further highlights
the need for improvements in the region's roadways and bridges.
What caused the roadway to buckle?
A segment of Interstate 20 westbound between Candler and Gresham roads
buckled on Monday morning, likely caused by a problem with an underground
utility installation, according to a statement released by the
Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT). Whether the issues was caused by ongoing construction projects or a failure
of the road structure, this illustrates a major problem of the nation's
roadways in general.
What is the current state of Georgia's bridges?
According to the
Georgia Infrastructure Report Card, As of 2012 there were 14,769 bridge structures in Georgia, according
to the bridge inventory listing maintained by the Georgia Department of
Transportation (GDOT) Office of Bridge Maintenance. The Georgia Section
of ASCE assigned Bridges a 2014 grade of C-. Georgia has 784 structurally
deficient bridges, which is 8.6 percent of the 9,142 span bridges.
What is causing the low grade for Georgia's bridges?
The primary source of funding for transportation in Georgia is the motor
fuel tax, commonly known as the gas tax. At just 7.5 cents per gallon,
Georgia has the lowest motor fuel tax in the United States. Without alternative
funding sources or increases to the motor fuel tax there appears to be
limited opportunity to meet state needs for fully funding bridge replacement
and repair. Recently the Georgia legislature attempted to address the
need for additional infrastructure funding through a
regional 1 percent sales tax referendum to fund transportation projects in 12 regions across the state. The referendum
passed in 3 regions and will generate up to $1.8 billion over the next
10 years in those areas.
What is the current state of Georgia's roads?
The Georgia Section of ASCE has assigned Roads a 2014 grade of C-. This
is a slight increase from the 2009 grade of D+. Although road surface
conditions are better than the national average, they are declining, suggesting
a lack of funding for maintenance and resurfacing. Georgia’s motor
fuel excise tax is one of the lowest in the nation, making funding of
roadway maintenance and improvements much lower compared to the national average.